Week 5: loving your neighbor
A Mission-Minded Family Prayer Guide
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We love because He first loved us.
We don’t have to search hard to find out what’s most important to God, he tells us in the Bible:
‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’
This is the first and greatest commandment.
And the second is like it:
‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
But why would God say that loving Him and loving our neighbors are the most important? Well, God is love. And when we love God and love others, our lives are showing people that we are true disciples of Jesus.
‘By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.’
When we show the love of Jesus by the way we live, we’re showing them that God loves them too.
And guess what? God let’s us in on a little secret about how to do this: if we treat others the way we want to be treated, we will always know just what to do!
Oh, and one more thing—you and I have a lot of neighbors. In fact God tells us that our “neighbors” aren’t just the people who live next door to us, but that everyone we meet is a neighbor—because everyone needs the love of Jesus.
“We love because he first loved us.“
–1 John 4:19
William Udar sharing the good news of the peace of Jesus with neighbors in DR Congo.
Speaking of loving your neighbors, there’s someone we want you to meet!
this is william udar, he’s from a neighborhood called congo
When William was a kid, he went to church with his parents—he thought that meant that he was a Christian. But William had no peace in his life at all.
One Monday, a visitor came to William’s house and started to tell him about Jesus. The man was sharing stories of people, who even in hard times had peace, because they knew Jesus.
William listened to what the man shared and started to wonder if Jesus might be the solution to his problems too.
When the man left he handed William some books, so he could continue learning about Jesus. By Sunday morning, William knew he wanted to follow Jesus. He headed to church, and when the Pastor asked if anyone wanted to receive Jesus, William was the first person to say “yes” that day.
“That very day, I got peace in my life and I joined the church.”
That day was the beginning of a new life for William. It’s not that his life is easy now, but when things are hard William has peace—the peace that only comes from knowing Jesus.
Today, William shares the good news of Jesus with his neighbors, in DR Congo. He’s a true disciple of Jesus, who wants everyone to have the opportunity of knowing Jesus too.
William loading up boxes of Bibles, on the back of a boda boda (we call them motorcycles!) to take to new believers in DR Congo.
Want to know something really cool?
A few years ago, William and some people from his church were sharing about the peace of Jesus to a group of people who live in the forest of the DR Congo. One man, named Bahati, heard about what they were doing and wanted to meet William.
Can you guess how many miles Bahati walked, just to meet William?
Eighteen miles! That’s right. Bahati had lived in an area where there was no peace. He wanted to follow the Jesus William was talking about, and to share the good news about the peace of Jesus with his neighbors too!
Bahati sharing the Gospel in DR Congo.
Specific ways to pray together as a family this week:
• Pray that God would protect the Congolese people as there is tribal conflict in Eastern Congo.
• Pray for those in the area who are living in fear.
• Pray for William as he leads the churches in DR Congo.
BONUS (just for Kids!)
To help you practice loving your neighbor, try this activity with your family:
what you’ll need:
- Pens or markers
- A jar or other container
Step 1: Gather your family and brainstorm a list of ways you can love your neighbor.
Step 2: Cut out heart shapes.
If you want some help try cutting your paper into four squares, folding each square in half, tracing half a heart on the fold, and cutting on the line.
Step 3: Using the pens or markers, write one way you can love your neighbors on each heart.
Step 4: Put the hearts in the jar and pull one out each day (or week, whatever timeline you choose) and put it into action!
a few ideas:
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Use sidewalk chalk to leave messages for people walking through your neighborhood
- Call or FaceTime someone who lives alone
- Draw a picture or send a card to someone
- Bake cookies and make a special delivery
- Ask someone if you can pick up some groceries for them
- Say Thank You when you see a helper
- Donate to your local food bank
- Pick up trash in your neighborhood
- Clean your room for your parents (yes, they are your neighbors, too!)
- Share your toys
- Pray for others by name
That’s just the start—you can think of lots more ways to love your neighbor! And when you do, remember you’ll be showing them that Jesus loves them. And that’s just what Jesus wants us to do!